The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 1:2“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” 3What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun? 4A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains to time immemorial. 5Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place it rises there again. 6Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; and on its circular courses the wind returns. 7All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. 8All things are wearisome; man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing. 9That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun. 10Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? Already it has existed for times immemorial which were before us. 11There is no remembrance of earlier things; and also of the later things which will occur, there will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come later still. 12I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which the Almighty has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. 14I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. 15What is crooked cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted. 16I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.” 17And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. 18Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.
I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. 2:2I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” 3I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. 4I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; 5I made gardens and parks for myself, and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; 6I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves, and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. 8Also, I collected for myself silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines. 9Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. 11Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun. 12So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly, for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? 13And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. 15Then I said to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So I said to myself, “This too is vanity.” 16For there is no remembrance of the wise man as with the fool to time immemorial, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind. 18Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. 21When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil. 22For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity. 24There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen, that it is from the hand of the Almighty. 25For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without him? 26For to a person who is good in his sight he has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner he has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in the Almighty’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— 3:2A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. 3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build up. 4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. 5A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing. 6A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away. 7A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. 8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. 9What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10I have seen the task which the Almighty has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set the obscurity of time in their heart, so that man will not find out all the work which the Almighty has done from the beginning even to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of the Almighty. 14I know that everything the Almighty does will remain to time immemorial; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for the Almighty has so worked that men should fear him. 15That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for the Almighty seeks what has passed by. 16Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. 17I said to myself, “The Almighty will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” because a time for every pleasure and concerning every deed is appointed there. 18I said in my heart concerning the final estate of the sons of men, “The Almighty purifies them in order to show them which of them are beasts.” 19For the fate of those sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same fate to them. As one death so the other death: namely, all have the same breath and there is no superiority of man over beast, for all is like vapour. 20All are going to the one place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. 21Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, (which are ascending upward), or the spirit of the beast (which are descending downward to the earth)? 22So I see that nothing is better than that such men should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?
Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. 4:2So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. 3But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun. 4And I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind. 5The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh. 6One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind. 7Then I looked again at vanity under the sun. 8There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task. 9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. 13A poor, yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction. 14For he has come out of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15I have seen all the living under the sun throng to the side of the second lad who replaces him. 16There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.
Guard your steps as you go to the house of the Almighty, and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 5:2Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of the Almighty. For the Almighty is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3For the dream comes through much effort, and the voice of a fool through many words. 4When you make a vow to the Almighty, do not be late in paying it, for he takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of the Almighty that it was a mistake. Why should the Almighty be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear the Almighty. 8If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight, for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. 9After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land. 10He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. 11When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much. But the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep. 13There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him. 15As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. 16And this also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So, what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? 17Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger. 18Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which the Almighty has given him; for this is his reward. 19Furthermore, as for every man to whom the Almighty has given riches and wealth, he has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of the Almighty. 20For he will not often consider the years of his life, because the Almighty keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.
There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men— 6:2a man to whom the Almighty has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires, but the Almighty has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction. 3If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, “Better the miscarriage than he, 4for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. 5“It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he. 6“Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things—do not all go to one place?” 7All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. 8For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? 9What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind. 10Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. 11For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man? 12For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?
A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. 7:2It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart. 3Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy. 4The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure. 5It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man Than for one to listen to the song of fools. 6For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool, and this too is futility. 7For oppression makes a wise man mad, and a bribe corrupts the heart. 8The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit. 9Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools. 10Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. 11Wisdom along with an inheritance is good and an advantage to those who see the sun. 12For wisdom is protection just as money is protection. But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors. 13Consider the work of the Almighty, for who is able to straighten what he has bent? 14In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—the Almighty has made the one as well as the other So that man may not discover anything that will be after him. 15I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17Do not be excessively wicked, and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you grasp one thing, and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears the Almighty comes forth with both of them. 19Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. 21Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others. 23I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? 25I directed my mind to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to the Almighty will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her. 27“Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “a dding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. 29“Behold, I have found only this, that the Almighty made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”
Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam. 8:2I say, “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before the Almighty. 3“Do not be in a hurry to leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.” 4Since the word of the king is authoritative, who will say to him, “What are you doing?” 5He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure. 6For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, when a man’s trouble is heavy upon him. 7If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen? 8No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it. 9All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt. 10So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility. 11Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil. 12Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear the Almighty, who fear him openly. 13But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear the Almighty. 14There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility. 15So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which the Almighty has given him under the sun. 16When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night), 17and I saw every work of the Almighty, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover.
For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of the Almighty. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him. 9:2It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean, and for the unclean; for the man who offers a sacrifice and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as the swearer is, so is the one who is afraid to swear. 3This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead. 4For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. 6Indeed their love, their hate, and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer, to time immemorial, have a share in all that is done under the sun. 7Go then, eat your bread in happiness, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for the Almighty has already approved your works. 8Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. 9Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which he has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life, and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. 11I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise, nor wealth to the discerning, nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all. 12Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them. 13Also this I came to see as wisdom under the sun, and it impressed me. 14There was a small city with few men in it and a great king came to it, surrounded it, and constructed large siegeworks against it. 15But there was found in it a poor wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the wisdom of the poor man is despised and his words are not heeded. 17The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor. 10:2A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left. 3Even when the fool walks along the road his sense is lacking, and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. 4If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses. 5There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which goes forth from the ruler— 6folly is set in many exalted places while rich men sit in humble places. 7I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the land. 8He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall. 9He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them. 10If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success. 11If the serpent bites before being charmed, there is no profit for the charmer. 12Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him; 13the beginning of his talking is folly, and the end of it is wicked madness. 14Yet the fool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him? 15The toil of a fool so wearies him that he does not even know how to go to a city. 16Woe to you, land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning. 17Blessed are you, land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time—for strength, and not for drunkenness. 18Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks. 19Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything. 20Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound, and the winged creature will make the matter known.
Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. 11:2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. 4He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of the Almighty who makes all things. 6Sow your seed in the morning, and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good. 7The light is pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. 8Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. Everything that is to come will be futility. 9Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that the Almighty will bring you to judgment for all these things. 10So, remove vexation from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; 12:2before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain; 3in the day that the watchmen of the house tremble, and mighty men stoop, the grinding ones stand idle because they are few, and those who look through windows grow dim; 4and the doors on the street are shut as the sound of the grinding mill is low, and one will arise at the sound of the bird, and all the daughters of song will sing softly. 5Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his enduring home while mourners go about in the street. 6Remember him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to the Almighty who gave it. 8“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!” 9In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. 10The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly. 11The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. 12But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. 13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear the Almighty and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For the Almighty will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.